Almost lost my boat in Desolation Canyon

Problems with your kayak? Tracking to one side over the other? Taking on water? Losing Air? Post your questions, suggestions and answers here regarding issues with the kayaks.

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Almost lost my boat in Desolation Canyon

Post by madman » Fri Jul 18, 2014 10:18 am

I discovered on a recent 8-day trip down the Green River in Utah that the bow and stern carry handles on the Attack kayak are attached to the boat with short strips (15" in bow; 27" in stern) of velcro. As I would learn later in the trip, this design feature would become a huge problem. The velcro closures would inevitably come apart in rapids and wave trains, and often when lifting/dragging the boat to shore. We would have to stop after each rapid to reattach the velcro strips to prevent the bow and stern covers from completely detaching. Early in the trip, before I discovered this problem, I tied my Attack to a tree and went for a hike in a side canyon with my fellow boaters-- experienced boaters, river guides and outdoor educators. When we returned about an hour later, the boat had completely separated from the front carry handle and was drifting toward the main channel. We managed to retrieve it before it was swept downriver, but this incident left us with nagging questions about the design of this feature. As a solution, I am considering cutting the velcro strips off and gluing the fabric directly to the boat; or alternatively, replacing the velcro strips with #10 YKK coil zippers. If anyone from Advanced Elements is reading, can you tell me if you see a downside to either of these solutions? What is the thinking behind this design? Why did the designers believe it was necessary to have the ability to remove the fabric/carry handles in the bow and stern of the boat?

Safety issue: the thigh straps that come with the Attack are not quick release. Based on recommendations of professional river guides, I have modified mine (using velcro strips) to allow a quick release if needed.

Puncture issue: The steel rings used to hold the zipper pulls together can snag on clothing and loosen, creating a very sharp metal point. The rings can be replaced with plastic cable ties or parachute cord to eliminate this issue.

Although these comments could be construed to suggest that I am unhappy with the Attack, that is certainly not the case. The boat performed well in big water, and was a ton of fun in the Green's Class III rapids.

Thanks for your time and attention.

Jackson, WY

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Post by rlpugh1 » Thu Jul 24, 2014 1:47 pm

Hello Dan,

Glad to hear that you are enjoying the performance of your Attack. Here are some answers to your questions/comments.

The design of the end caps is necessary for fabrication and assembly of the kayak. Also, having them removable is useful if any repairs or tube replacements are necessary. Either one of your planed modifications should work just fine. Gluing would be the best, and easiest, way to go. I would suggest Aquaseal as the glue to use. If you make this modification, just keep in mind that you may have difficulty later if you need to do a repair or replace a tube.

As for the metal rings on the main tube zipper pulls, these should be zipped (or placed) all the way at the back end of the kayak which places them completely out of the way and reduces any snag potential. The zipper pulls should be placed this way at the factory, but it sounds like yours may have not. We will certainly pass your comments along to the design team as well. Happy Paddling!

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